Marketing is way to go
BEEF producers in north-west Wales are benefiting from substantial premiums thanks to disciplined group marketing.
Melfyn Ellis, managing director of Cwmni Cig Arfon, which processes cattle procured from the 120 members of Biff Llyn (Lleyn Beef) at its Caernarfon abattoir, applauds the way producers have helped themselves through improved marketing.
The abattoir has access to large numbers of cattle that match tight specifications, allowing it to supply over 1000 carcasses a year to the catering division of Bookers. Cattle must weigh between 240 and 340kg deadweight, classify R or better for conformation, and be in fat class 3 or 4L.
Sides are hung for three weeks before being marketed as traditional high quality mature beef. The premium paid varies according to weight but averages more than £40/beast.
Local auctioneers Farmers Marts, who would have lost out if all the cattle involved were simply sold direct, acts as commission-earning marketing agent for the scheme by linking the abattoirs livestock buyer and producers.
A few days after the Prime Minister called for more effective marketing, Mr Ellis said change was already under way.
He expected more farmers would abandon their independence and join co-operative marketing groups that were capable of negotiating improved trading terms with abattoirs.
But he emphasised that those who wanted to market their produce rather than just selling it would have to accept that consistent quality was the key. *